The God Dilemma--by LA Jamison
Whether you believe we were all a happen-stance of chemical combustion, products of an alien intervention, or a fallen race from the courts of the divine, sometime in everyone’s life all of us come to the question as to why we are here and who or what made us. It is the dilemma for all time—past and present. Who can say what the future will hold? Nevertheless, as it stands, we all presently deal with this question in our own way.
C.S. Lewis in his book “Mere Christianity” makes some compelling intellectual arguments on matters of faith and the Christian journey. One of his arguments is that we haven’t been given “the book” on how nature, or animals or anything in any other world sees the world. The only perspective we were born with was that of the human race. We have only been given ourselves to know and understand things--such as morality and our place in the universe.
It is almost comedic to think that we can all flap the lips of our psyche all we want, pull out all our best science, and get in tune with what we feel is our heart instinct and still quite possibly be completely off the mark. Haven't you ever been so sure of something only to later find yourself shaking your head on how wrong you were? We all have been there. I am sure every generation has its points where they are walking around just like children in Disney World who believe all it’s characters are real. Blind fools who long to be “right” but are fools nonetheless because of our present human limits. We can look back on things like blood letting and slavery and think how much better we are now because of our knowledge. Yet, what will they discover in the future that will have people looking back on our generation thinking “How could they live that way?” Maybe it will be things like easy organ replacement, flying cars so there are no roads, or perhaps even death itself will become extinct. Even though each and every generation is limited by what it does yet know, does that mean we have to dismiss everything about what we don't know? Do we not have a chance to be right about how we humans got here just as we do in being wrong about it?
The evidence we have on alien intervention is pretty sparse though not out of the question. Truly we aren’t the only one’s in such a vast universe. It is at the very least possible. What would be an alien’s intent with us? We will never know for the time being so you have to decide how you will live with that open ended question. You could go on a search to find proof of aliens on Earth. The motivation behind aliens being a part of creating us would be even more difficult to prove at this point. Yet, that still doesn't mean that it is out of the realm of possibility.
What about the science? The evidence we have with science can tell us things like how we have grown to adapt or evolve over time. It can describe to us the make-up of the universe and thus hint at how the universe came to be, but it offers nothing for or against a God-source to it all. I've been in many a science classroom from school age through college and read books on the subject. Even with the idea of the big bang, there still would be no evidence against a source that in some other realm clapped their spiritual powers together and things went "bang". There may no way to prove a God was behind the big bang theory but there is also no proof against it. The fact that we cannot even see such a thing as an atom or nucleus, in my mind, puts science—at its root—dependent on models based on conjecture as much anything we call supernatural. For example, Rutherford’s Gold Foil experiment determined that an atom is filled with empty space except for the small nucleus. How did Rutherford make this determination? By shooting alpha particles at gold foil. The fact that some alpha rays went through the gold foil and others did not pass through produced all the ideas we have around atoms today which is what all the our science is based from. The model works for us so we don't question it any longer. We take it as fact even though it isn't so much a fact that stands up against everything but rather a model that largely works in our minds.
Now, I’m sorry but I have a small problem with that test being more solid than faith. I can’t visually see an atom anymore with my eye than anyone can see the inner works of God or another dimension. Before you bawk, hear me out. This particular science model we affirm as true from this test and we have built many more models off of its foundation. In other words, other systems of thought around science would crumble if we did not believe what we do about Rutherford's experiment around atoms. People of faith can also build off foundations from best fit models that are proven to them as much as anything else we do around atoms of which we also can't see. For instance, atoms are always portrayed as round in our science books with the nucleus in the center. How do we know that? I asked a science teacher this once and they said we don't know that. We assume it and its the best working model to help understand the workings of atoms. In reality, atoms could be square or a shape we don’t even know about yet. The nucleus could be at the top and not the center or maybe there isn't even a nucleus as we imagine it to be. We can't see any of it but we trust the model because the science community says it works. Do I have to think about the structure of atoms every time I sit in my chair in order for atoms to hold together and hold my body weight up? No, I have faith that the chair is going to hold me up based more on my experience with chairs than on my knowledge of how atoms operate. In this sense, faith is used in both our sciences and spiritual theories. We assume atoms are round and do what they do because it is the best model we have to work with and it seems to be proven out... though we can't see it. Our proof is the experience, not what we can see but what we believe about that which we CANNOT see and our experience proves it out for us.
Let’s conduct a test right here on a spiritual level rather than a scientific one. We know that within many faiths there are universal models and themes that hold true which bring people a more satisfied life. The models of living a life focused on what are called three tenants of religious belief; faith, hope and love. Then there is the model of giving and receiving grace. There is also another model of doing unto others what you want done to you. Lastly, there is a model of a 'relationship' with a God source that involves some form of communication. These are all models that are "best fit" for the proof of what a God source has been credited to teaching us over time over different belief systems. Certain foundational models.
In addition to those several, foundational models that have worked to produced healthy societies over time, there is one model that may be a little harder to grasp but even more powerful. We all come to the question of why am I here and who or what made me to be here. This question comes in large part through our own thinking. Why do we question it, if there wasn't an answer to it? Why do we seek it and not our dogs or cats, a canary or squirrel? We also have the reality that for whatever reason—right in this moment while you are reading this—we aren’t given the answer to that question in the way we want. We aren't given that answer in a way that we can point to like you can point to your driver license. Ironically, just like the atom, we can't "see" the answer. There's no standing "Heaven's Gate" in Florida or "Hell's Gate" in Phoenix, and no pillar of fire like in the Bible stories today. We can’t shoot gamma rays at gold foil to get an answer about such spiritual realities. Yet, is it possible that there is a reason why we aren’t given the answer to that big question to begin with?
For example, a mother won’t let her child have a cookie. In the child’s mind, there is no reason good enough why they can’t have that cookie. They want that cookie and they want it now--no answer satisfies the child. Yet, from the parents point of view, there are a whole host of reasons as to why they don't let that child have that cookie "now". The list could be: they had too many already, it is close to dinner time, they misbehaved, etc. It is not, therefore, reasonable to say that there may be a purpose for us not getting the answer as we want?
Here again are the options:
The Big Bang (a universal fart)
Many argue there isn’t any evidence of God but I argue there is, we just aren’t paying attention. Now don’t get me wrong. I am no longer a fundamentalist Christian and I hold my own struggles with the Bible on certain things, but with an objective view, one would have to admit that the Bible (well or not well) attempts to give an answer to the questions our own minds are asking. Otherwise, this topic wouldn't interest you. You wouldn't care.
Some people call a belief in God a “coping mechanism”, as a form of “get out of jail free” card. That is not without argument since we do have to face our mortality and people may find comfort from their regrets this way. I would even go so far as to say that people use this notion of God and Bible theology for that very thing, among other uses and abuses. So this is not without argument, I do confess. However, let's not throw the baby out with the bath water because people abuse many things. There is so much bad done in “God’s name” but there is good too. Doctors prescribe patients things they don’t need which harm them and keep them dependent on the medical community for the sake of their own profit, but this doesn’t mean all doctors and all the medical community should be rendered as a fool’s undertaking. This would be foolish to do, I think you would agree. It would be equally foolish to lump everything spiritual as sheer lunacy and harmful because how people can misuse and abuse it.
I will give you the answer on how I see this question answered in Part II...